Café Plenty, the gourmet take-away and catering shop of policy-advisor-turned-restaurateur Melissa Patterson, has flown under the radar since opening two months ago down the street from the AGO. The small space, with its sparkling white marble floors and shellacked wooden counter seating, is like a quaint country kitchen gone just a little glam. The menu features a large selection of hot and cold sandwiches, tarts, daily soups, salads and sweets, which Patterson is more than happy to help us navigate. Our final decision: a tart ($5) loaded with sautéed Swiss chard, Jerusalem artichoke, salty feta cheese and fresh rosemary, packed into three-by-four inches of flaky puff pastry. We contrast our rich, warm tart with a crisp and just-spicy cabbage and mango slaw ($5) with peanuts and cilantro (salads are normally sold in twos or threes, but if you ask nicely you can choose just one to accompany your main). We also found it pretty much impossible to resist picking up a buttery, house-made chocolate chip cookie ($1.50) for later.
The cost: $13.50.
The time: Half an hour, although the take-away box is ready to go in a matter of minutes.
Café Plenty, 250 Dundas St. W., 416-585-7842, cafeplenty.com